Journey’s internal legal battles have spilled into Trump territory as guitarist Neal Schon has filed a cease-and-desist against his bandmate Jonathan Cain to prevent the latter from performing their hit “Don’t Stop Believin’” at Mar-a-Lago.
In November, Cain performed the band’s 1981 hit at an event at Donald Trump’s country club alongside backup singers that included Marjorie Taylor Greene, Kimberly Guilfoyle, and Kari Lake; Cain himself is a member of Trump’s inner circle, as his wife Paula White, a televangelist, served as Trump’s spiritual advisor.
In an effort to prevent similar viral and embarrassing moments featuring Journey’s music from happening, Schon filed the cease-and-desist order against his fellow Journeyman, stating that the use of their music at a Trump event is of “harmful use” to their brand, Variety reports.
“Although Mr. Cain is free to express his personal beliefs and associations, when he does that on behalf of Journey or for the band, such conduct is extremely deleterious to the Journey brand as it polarizes the band’s fans and outreach. Journey is not, and should not be, political,” the cease-and-desist letter states.
“Mr. Cain has no right to use Journey for politics. His politics should be his own personal business. He should not be capitalizing on Journey’s brand to promote his personal political or religious agenda to the detriment of the band.”
In response to the lawsuit, Cain told Rolling Stone: ”Neal Schon should look in the mirror when he accuses me of causing harm to the Journey brand. I have watched him damage our brand for years and am a victim of both his–and his wife’s–bizarre behavior. Neal sued Live Nation twice, losing both times, and damaging our ability to ever work with them again; Neal outrageously tried to take away trademarks from Steve Perry; Neal and his wife continually insult the professionalism of numerous accountants, road managers, and management firms with endless legal threats and their bullying, toxic, and incoherent emails; Neal argues online with fans who don’t see eye to eye with him; and Neal and his wife recklessly spend Journey’s money until there is none left for operating costs. If anyone is destroying the Journey brand, it is Neal–and Neal alone.”
And a spokesperson for Cain told Variety of the letter, “Schon is just frustrated that he keeps losing in court and is now falsely claiming the song has been used at political rallies.”
That “frustration” in part stems from a litany of self-inflicted legal action Journey has filed between themselves and former members, including — most recently in October — a lawsuit filed by Schon that accused Cain of refusing to give him access to the group’s American Express card and its records.
“Neal has always had access to the credit card statements; what he lacks — and what he is really seeking — is the ability to increase his spending limits,” Cain said in a statement at the time.
“Since Neal decided to publicize what is going on, I can tell you we will present the evidence to the court that shows that Neal has been under tremendous financial pressure as a result of his excessive spending and extravagant lifestyle, which led to him running up enormous personal charges on the band’s credit card account.”
That lawsuit followed one filed in September by former lead singer Steve Perry, who took legal action against both Schon and Cain to stop them from registering federal trademarks on the names of many of the band’s biggest hits. Perry, who left Journey in 1998, claimed the trio had an agreement that required unanimous consent for any business decision related to the trademarks and that he had not authorized said consent.
Going back to 2021, Schon and Cain were on the same side when they faced off against bassist Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith after those former members allegedly tried to fund their retirement by wresting control of the band’s name; an “amicable settlement” was reached in that lawsuit.
Miraculously, despite all the in-fighting, Journey — with Schon and Cain in tow — still managed to release their new album Freedom in 2022, their first LP in 11 years. The two longtime bandmates will also put their differences aside when the band embarks on their Freedom Tour in Jan. 2023.